Real Madrid defeat Anadolu Efes 92-84 in the EuroLeague, Sergio Llull delivers in crunch time
Edy Tavares: “When we play like this, we are unstoppable”
A fantastic 12-point fourth quarter performance and career-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists by Sergio Llull coupled with Anthony Randolph’s 24 points contributed to a hard-fought win for Real Madrid over visitors Anadolu Efes. Edy Tavares was also key on both the offensive and defensive side of the court grabbing a total of 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Vasilije Micic was the top scorer for the Turkish team with 21 points. Eleven games before the end of the regular season, the Whites continue to chase first place Fenerbahce while Efes remains fourth.
EuroLeague action returned to the WiZink Center on Thursday night as current champions Real Madrid hosted fourth-placed Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Real Madrid was looking to bounce back after a tough loss in Buducnost but it was never going to be an easy task against a hot Efes team arriving in the Spanish capital on a four-game winning streak.
Randolph fired off the hosts with 14 points in the first quarter after three straight shots from downtown. Vasilije Micic and Krunoslav Simon were the early scorers for Efes. Madrid’s Walter Tavares was a threat yet again after grabbing three offensive rebounds and converting them all. The Cabo Verdean also added to his defensive stats by two superb blocks but the Turkish team still managed to find the basket with Rodrigue Beaubois and Shane Larkin distributing the ball well. Micic capped a busy second quarter by a phenomenal run through Madrid’s defense and an acrobatic layup to score his 15th point of the first half. Teams were locked 42:42 at halftime.
Tavares picked up right where he left off scoring the first four points the home team in the third quarter. Another monster block from the Real Madrid giant sent the home crowd to their feet. Adrien Moerman finally got on the scoreboard converting from the three-point line for the Istanbul side and tried to inspire his teammates to go and win the match. Visitors head coach Ergin Ataman nearly got sent off after going ballistic at the referee for a foul awarded against Efes. Randolph continued to be the main offensive weapon for Real Madrid scoring seven in the third quarter. Sergio Llull reminded of himself in the dying minutes of the quarter after first stealing the ball and taking it all the way to the basket. 3-point game going into the fourth quarter and all to play for. Micic continued to terrorize Madrid’s defense, the Serbian averaging 12 points per game, was a constant threat around the basket, rebounding and scoring. It was Llull, however, who had the last say. The Spanish veteran played a blinding fourth quarter scoring 12 of his 19 points for the game and getting career-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals. Final score 92-84.